Above is a bottle with the older label for Helles (Light) Lagerbier from Schlenkerla Brewery. This is important to note because this one may have been on a shelf for a year or two before I got a hold of it, which I think added to the smoke flavor. When drinking the one above I noted that the smokepower was remarkable considering no smoked ingredients were used in the brewing process, and smoke notes were only residuals from nearby equipment and processes taking place around the facility at Schlenkerla. Although it scored low (1’s and 2’s), I still found that a pleasantly surprising result. It seems counter intuitive to me to think that the smoke flavor gets stronger over time, because based on my tastings, the bottles with the newer labels that I see in stores today (with a darker blue and red trim around the edges of the label) are tasting with virtually no smoke at all. The brewer notes that “some samples having residual smoke character” must account for the discrepancy so I feel lucky to have gotten one of those samples, but certainly no changes have taken place on the brewing side of things, so what am I to conclude? At one particular tasting that included the newer labeled bottles one Ministry official noted that it was too light for his smokebeer palate. It’s an enigma. I will drink this beer again. Final score 4 out of 7.
…Here’s a picture of both. Also, be sure to run over the scores and brewer’s notes.
|Beer Name||Helles Lagerbier|
|Brewer’s Description||“Schlenkerla Helles” is brewed with fine Bavarian aroma hops from the area around the city of Nürnberg. It’s lagered in century old caves underneath the historic Schlenkerla brewery and maltings. Schlenkerla Helles is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Schlenkerla Smokebeer. Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes “Helles Schlenkerla Lager” a unique representative of the classic lager beer style “Bavarian Helles”. Editor’s note: Since this is not intended as a smoked beer, and is not billed as such, it has been classed here as a Helles, despite some samples having residual smoke character.|
|Food Pairings||Meats, cheese, nuts.|
|Brewer Location||Bamberg, Germany|
|Alcohol content by volume||4.3%|
|IBU (International Bitterness Units)||30|
|Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark)||1|
|Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns)||2|
|Sausage detection? Y or N||N|
|Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks||1|
|Overall Happiness Rating: 1-7 (low – high)||4|
Momma I’m coming home: